- FOUR large trash bags of "stuff". Just excess "stuff" from around the house. I haven't even gone into the drawers, closets, cupboards, etc. Most of it was from my 6-year old's room. Most kids have waaaay too many toys, my lil' darling included.
- TWO grocery bags of videos, DVDs and ... cassettes. Yes, I still had some of those around. We'll never miss them and our entertainment center looks so much cleaner!
- A grocery sack of miscellaneous items of whose origins I'm not sure. I know the cement-like hair gel is from my eldest daughter's Shakespearean production. One year ago. Seriously.
I finally found a place that will accept our extremely gently used kid's toys for donation straight to a child: Our local food bank. It's very small, but has clothing, household and personal care items as well. The lovely lady who runs it knows each of her clients personally and knows who has a child with a birthday coming up. Christmas is right around the corner and some of the toys I'm donating are brand-new or like-new, just without their original shrink wrapping. No other agency would accept the non-new toys, which broke my heart. Now, I finally have a place to donate these items and I feel better knowing they will go to someone who really needs them rather than to a secondhand store. I know that many people who shop thrift stores end up with the "too much stuff" problem, precisely because the items are so inexpensive and easy to buy (even if you don't really need them). I've done it myself. It's good to donate to the Salvation Army or Goodwill, but if I can actually donate an item directly to an actual child in need, I would rather.
I know many blogs are doing the "10-Item Giveaway" and photographing the items they are getting rid of each day or week. If I'd stopped to photograph everything, I wouldn't have collected as much stuff. I was also trying to get it done before my wee one woke up, since some of the stuff I'm donating is non-negotiable and I didn't want to start the day off with hurt feelings. Although I'm going through most of her stuff with her, to teach her about donating and purging--and hopefully, how not to get in this position in the first place!--there are always items that she wants to keep that I think we should donate. She is so excited by the new clean spaces, she doesn't miss a thing.
If you have kids and clutter, read the book Simplicity Parenting. Check it out of your local library (less cluttering!). It details how kids feel (and the misbehaviors that often materialize) when living in cluttered quarters and how free and easy life becomes after the clutter and excess is removed. Even if you love it. Even if it's still good. Even if you paid a fortune for it. Even if you might need it some day. Even if.
Stop making excuses and go de-excessorize something!